For the second time since May, Lee County Domestic Animal Services is in crisis.
The shelter is over capacity and is faced with the choice of putting healthy animals down to make way for more looking at the same potential fate - unless the public steps in.
Shelter officials urge pet owners to come in to claim their missing pets as most "strays" brought in are not strays at all, but kittens, cats, puppies and dogs that have owners.
Shelter officials also urge anyone looking for a "forever friend" to look now as euthanasia is always a choice of last resort.
Especially for healthy, adoptable animals.
As we stated back in May when "kitten season" commenced, there are only three ways a shelter can deal with too many charges and not enough space: Find more permanent homes through adoption, find more temporary homes through "fostering" or rescues, or put the overage down to accommodate the influx.
That's an awfully ugly option.
Animal Services reached out to the public again this week.
If you can provide a home to a healthy pet in need of one, now's a good time to consider adoption.
You can save both money and a life.
This month, to help alleviate the crunch, the shelter is offering a "Back to School" adoption special.
Adoptive owners can draw a coupon worth $20 to $50 off the regular adoption fee, a savings of least 20 percent and as much as 100 percent off the regular fees.
Regular fees are $95 for puppies; $75 for dogs six months and older; $75 for kittens; $50 for cats and $25 for any cat or dog six years or older. Cats and kittens, as always, are two for the price of one.
Adoption fees include sterilization, age appropriate vaccinations, county license, microchip ID, de-worming, flea treatment, a heartworm test for dogs, feline aids and leukemia test for cats, a 10 day health guarantee, and a bag of dog or cat food.
The adoption package is valued at more than $500.
That's a pretty good deal.
If adoption is too much of a commitment - and no one should bring an animal into their lives on an impulse, that's one reason some 10,000 strays a year move through the county facility - "fosters" who can provide temporary care are equally welcome.
So are rescue organizations that can temporary house or find homes for some very loving companions-in-the-making.
Photos of kittens, cats, puppies and dogs waiting for adoption may be found on the agency's web site at www.LeeLostPets.com .Foster and rescue applications may be found on the shelter web site as well.
Or visit the shelter at 5600 Banner Drive, Fort Myers, next to the Lee County Sheriff's Office off Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Adoption viewing hours are Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.
- Breeze editorial